I am also seeing how this now ties into refusing help from others. I feel like I cannot receive kindness without an equal exchange. It is difficult for me to see how I bring benefit to others. I liked the thought that receiving help from someone with a Dharma intention leads them to enlightenment. That I help them by accepting help from them. I guess that extends to people with ordinary intentions of kindness. This brings them benefit somehow. It is hard to know if you are taking advantage though. People in the West give out of guilt as well as kindness. I don’t want to accept help that they will later regret as this destroys the good karma they have earned.
I decided that I would allow myself to be the object for others to practice kindness too by accepting help, but I was challenged today by the young man I have attachment to. He offered to buy me a shirt while he was shopping for himself. I really struggled with this. My first reaction was to think I didn’t really need anything. In fact, I knew this was a lie because just maybe a week ago I told someone that one of my shirts was lost in the wash and now I only had three. This is tough because it takes two days for the laundry to dry. I wanted to accept his kindness, so I hesitated, but ended up falling into the old habit of refusing help. I feel so grateful for his kindness in the just offering. I instinctively want to give in return, but I don’t want to be the object for them to practice kindness because I don’t want to be in debt to them. I don’t want to be in debt to his or her kindness because people don’t like people who take but don’t return the favor. I rather have his kindness than his money and am afraid that if I accept an offering I will collect some sort of debt to him. Since, I am unable to afford to repay him, I fear that the result will be in his resenting me and then I won’t be able to receive his kindness anymore. This is not completely irrational as people often give with the expectation of receiving in return. I am pretty sure this is not the situation here, but I am really terrified as I am really attached to the kindness he emanates.
I have gotten better at receiving kindness from people that I am less attached to though. I have been accepting help for people who want to clean my cup once I am finished with tea. I accepted a lotus flower from an Indian man who was having a hard time selling them. Little things. I see now though that the greater my attachment to a person the harder it is to receive a gift from them. It also would make sense the greater the gift the greater the fear of losing that person in my life. I guess I should take the gifts then because then I have the opportunity crush the attachment to the people giving.